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I agree wholeheartedly with Dan Caulkins in his interview with Capitol News Illinois on January 22.

In October 2018, in an article posted on Illinois Policy, Adam Schuster, Director of Budget and Tax Research, cites “Illinois has the worst fiscal health in the nation."

A study from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University ranks states across five measures of fiscal solvency. Illinois ranked 50th overall and performed poorly across the board.

Schuster wrote, "Mercatus reports Illinois consistently performs poorly because of ongoing structural deficits, a growing reliance on debt to fund spending, and massive debts for government worker health insurance and pensions – among other problems. The report also highlights Illinois’ worst-in-the-nation pension crisis, noting that unfunded pension liabilities have grown to 67 percent of state personal income in fiscal year 2016, up from 22 percent in fiscal year 2006.”

Dan states that Illinois’s fiscal issues “goes back to Illinois having a spending problem, not a revenue problem.” The state should handle its revenue the same way individuals have to handle their income – determine your income, pay bills that must be paid, and, if any is left over, then, and only then, should they look at extra spending. The legislators of Illinois, for years, have treated its constituency just like a young person who has his/her own credit card to establish a credit history, spends to the limit, can’t make the payments, and then goes to mommy and daddy for a bail-out.

I, for one, am tired of bailing out this state by paying higher taxes. Our legislators need to take a lesson in fiscal responsibility. They should grow up and act like adults. Maybe they should take that lesson from Dan Caulkins – he is definitely on the right track.

Pat Tomlinson, Decatur

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